Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions By Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson


In her introduction Davidson gives a short history of the three peoples she intends to talk about and compare, the Celts, the Germans, and the Scandinavians. The aim of the book is to look at these three peoples and use archeology, iconography, literature and folklore to explore their religious beliefs and practices. And bring this knowledge back to what it means to us today.

Through out her chapters she gives examples of how the three peoples are similar and in some cases the same when it comes to certain things in their religion like holy places, feasting, sacrifice, rites of battle, land spirits, ancestors, foreknowledge, destiny, the Otherworld, and the ruling powers. She also offers a conclusion at the end of the book to summarize all the chapters that came before. The list of references in the book are also VERY impressive. I do love a good reference list.

The book is a scholarly read. It is a bit dry but the information included in it is fresh, well presented, and well researched. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in any of the three peoples, because it talks about things together that not a lot of other books mention when talking about one of the peoples alone. It is a reference that you will go back to time and again.

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